Bryan James Riley Brandon, Florida man randomly murders family of four, including, Justice Gleason, Theresa Lanham & their 3 month old baby.
Bryan James Riley of Brandon, Fla. said he was ‘experiencing visions of God’ when he shot the family of four, telling arresting officers he was a ‘sick guy,’ according to court documents cited by AP.
The self described ‘survivalist’ and decorated military marine was ordered held without bond following his first court appearance on Monday. He requested his own lawyer and will be appointed one until he can secure his own, a judge said according to AP.
Riley allegedly told authorities he was high on meth when, clad in camouflage, he murdered four people—including a mom who was found dead with her slain infant in her arms—at two homes outside of Tampa, Florida, on Sunday morning, circa 4.30am, claiming that he had been sent by God. The man also gunned down the family’s dog.
‘When you see somebody so heartless, so calculating, that they will shoot a mother clinging to her 3-month-old baby, and kill the baby, and shoot the family dog—this guy is heartless and calculating with his murder,’ Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a press conference on Sunday.
‘Because I’m a sick guy’
In the aftermath of the bloodbath, Riley allegedly told investigators that ‘they begged for their lives and I killed them anyway,’ according to Judd.
‘This man is evil in the flesh,’ he said according to the DailyBeast.
Adding, ‘We just know we had a madman with a lot of guns that shot and killed innocent people.’
When asked why he killed the 3-month-old baby, Riley allegedly responded, ‘Because I’m a sick guy. I want to confess to all of it and be sent to jail,’ according to an affidavit obtained by The Washington Post.
Riley allegedly also said that he set a vehicle nearby on fire as an ‘exit strategy,’ according to the arrest affidavit.
Riley, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was booked into Polk County Jail and now faces four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted first-degree murder of law enforcement officers, cruelty to an animal, shooting into a building, arson, and burglary according to the sheriff’s office.
Riley initially approached Justice Gleason, 40, while Gleason was mowing the lawn outside one of the houses on Saturday evening, telling Gleason that God had asked him to speak to Amber. Gleason according to Judd, told Riley an Amber did not live at the house and that he’d call police if Riley didn’t leave.
Searching for Amber
After initially leaving the premises, Riley returned hours later and killed Gleason, the man’s 33-year-old girlfriend, Theresa Lanham, and the couple’s baby boy, as well as the child’s 62-year-old grandmother, Cathy Delgado in a nearby home.
Delgado was found in a small home behind the main house. Gleason and Lanham were found in the main house, with Lanham holding the baby.
Riley also shot Lanham’s 11-year-old daughter multiple times. She was rushed to Tampa General Hospital for surgery, where she was in critical but stable condition Monday, sheriff’s officials said.
According to the arrest affidavit, the girl told investigators that Riley entered their home and asked for ‘Amber,’ and then shot everyone inside, including the family’s shepherd Diogi.
When authorities went looking for Riley after Gleason calling police Saturday night, he had returned to his home in Brandon some 20 miles away, only to allegedly return hours later with armor and a car stocked with supplies for a gun battle, authorities said.
Following calls about gunfire in the early morning on Monday, law enforcement returned to the scene, and saw Riley, who initially appeared to be unarmed, go back into the house of his victims, where he allegedly fired more shots that were followed by whimpers.
Ex military marine veteran diagnosed with PTSD
‘At that moment in time, we heard another volley and a woman scream and a baby whimper,’ Judd said according to Miami CBS.
Riley, who had multiple firearms and a concealed weapons license, then exchanged gunfire with authorities during a standoff, Judd said.
Judd said that Riley was prepared for a fight, with head and knee protection and a bulletproof vest. When he was shot once after firing at authorities, Riley eventually surrendered with hands up, the sheriff said.
The man who had been shot once, was taken into custody peacefully.
While being treated for his injuries at a local trauma center, Riley at one point jumped up and attempted to grab a Lakeland police officer’s pistol. The officer had to fight with him in the emergency room, Judd said.
Riley’s girlfriend of roughly four years told investigators that she was ‘mortified and shocked’ and that he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but had not been violent. According to Judd, she told investigators her boyfriend had repeatedly insisted to her in recent days that he could talk directly with God and that God had advised him to amass supplies for Hurricane Ida victims, including $1,000 worth of cigars as a ‘relief present.’
The woman, who was engaged to Riley said her fiancee had recently worked security at an Orlando church when he began to speak about having to talk to Amber.
Judd said that Riley was likely suffering from mental health issues and had virtually no criminal record after spending four years in the Corps and another three years in the reserves.
Riley who was honorably discharged was first deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009-2010 as a designated sharpshooter, the sheriff said.
‘This guy, prior to this morning, was a war hero. He fought for his country in Afghanistan and Iraq,’ Judd said. ‘He was a decorated military veteran, and this morning he’s a cold, calculated murderer.’
It remained unclear what treatment, if any, the former marine vet had received prior to seemingly imploding over the weekend.